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2014 Six Nations Championship Project Report

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Updated: Jul 16th, 2020

Summary of the Event

The Six Nations Championship is a major rugby contest that is held annually, involving six European nations. Such countries as England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, and Italy participate in the international contest because they are the members of the rugby union. The Six Nations Championship 2014 was held during the period of 1 February 2014 – 15 March 2014. The sponsor of the competition was the Royal Bank of Scotland. The large-scale public sports event attracted 1,038,000 persons, and it was estimated that more than 69,200 people attended each match of the tournament (RBS 6 nations 2014).

The main stadiums at which the major matches were held during several weeks of the international competition were Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Aviva Stadium in Dublin, and Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (Six Nations Championship Guide 2014 2014). Organizers of the matches paid much attention to providing spectators with necessary and safe equipment at stadiums and to guarantee security. Spectators at different stadiums were managed with the help of stewards, and they were provided with food services and sanitary accommodations (RBS 6 nations 2014). The wide media coverage of the event by the BBC was supported by providing all the necessary equipment at stadiums.

Risks for the Project

The development of such a great project as the organization of the 2014 Six Nations Championship was associated with determining specific risks to address. It is possible to identify the following risks connected with this sport event which are categorized into four groups:

  • Economic risks
  • the economic crisis in Europe;
  • the lack of funding from the Royal Bank of Scotland;
  • overbudget.

Technical and safety risks:

  • weak engineering of constructions at stadiums;
  • the use of inappropriate technologies for reporting results in the electronic form and for media coverage;
  • the use of poor materials in construction;
  • inadequate security for people at stadiums;
  • threats of terror attacks;
  • fire safety.

Marketing risks:

  • inadequate number of spectators;
  • lack of the sponsors’ interest.

Environmental risks:

  • risks of heavy rains and hurricanes.

Responses to Risks

Organizers of the 2014 Six Nations Championship focused on risk management planning in addition to the project planning and on the development of the risk management team within the project team (Table 1).

Table 1. Risk Management

Categories Types of Risks Risk Management Activities
Economic risks The economic crisis in Europe Revision of the tournament’s schedule and reduction of the budget.
Lack of funding Provision of guaranteed material reserves and the attraction of alternative sponsors.
Overbudget Constant monitoring of the project’s budget and the immediate address to possible overbudget.
Technical and safety risks Weak engineering of constructions Constant quality control, the involvement of high-class engineers.
Inappropriate technologies Monitoring of the quality and regular tests of technologies.
Poor materials Development of relations with credible suppliers.
Inadequate security for people Provision of the adequate number of security staff at stadiums.
Terror attacks Use of the latest technologies to identify arms and explosives.
Fire safety Assurance of the anti-fire systems’ quality.
Marketing risks Inadequate number of spectators Advertising, discounts, promotion campaigns.
Lack of sponsors’ interest Advertising and focusing on further projects and their revenues.
Environmental risks Risks of heavy rains and hurricanes Assurance of constructions’ quality and provision of additional safety measures.

Effectiveness of Risk Management Approaches

Although the risk management and mitigation approaches were proposed by the team working at the 2014 Six Nations Championship project, it is important to analyze the effectiveness of the presented risk responses and strategies identified for the project. The first step is the discussion of risk management approaches according to the qualitative risk analysis (Meredith & Mantel 2012, p. 251). Thus, it is important to identify the probability and impact levels for each risk in the proposed categories in order to state whether the proposed risk response strategies were effective.

The probability level of identified economic risks can be discussed as a medium because the budget for the 2014 Six Nations Championship project was determined appropriately. However, the level of the impact on the project development was rather high because the lack of funding or overbudget could lead to changes in the tournament’s schedule to address the problem. As a result, economic risks should be regarded as critical threats.

The proposed risk management strategies included the adjustment of the tournament’s schedule, reduction of the budget, the use of guaranteed material reserves, the work with alternative sponsors, and the constant monitoring of the project’s budget (RBS 6 nations 2014). The proposed risk response strategies could be used as a system, and they should be discussed as rather successful to address the identified problems (Hanstad 2012, p. 190). The only problem is that the constant monitoring of the project’s budget could be not enough to prevent or mitigate the results of overbudget. Although economic risks were avoided, more attention should have been paid to controlling the project over budget.

Technical and safety risks represent the largest group of risks identified for the 2014 Six Nations Championship project. According to the probability and impact levels, these risks can be divided into those ones discussed as monitor threats and those ones discussed as critical threats. Such risks as the use of inappropriate or weak technologies and the use of low-quality materials can be discussed as of medium probability and having the medium impact because of limited threats for spectators and participants of the competition. Such risks as weak engineering during the work at constructions at stadiums, fire safety, the provision of inadequate security for spectators, and risks of terror attacks are critical threats because of the medium probability and high impact. While ignoring these risks, it is possible to expect significant injuries and risks for the health of participants and spectators.

The project team proposed to address the monitor risks while testing technologies and working with credible suppliers. These risk management and mitigation approaches can be discussed as appropriate (Leopkey & Parent 2009, p. 189). The approaches to avoid critical threats were also successful because project developers chose to conduct the constant quality control during the construction period and only high-class engineers were invited. Much attention was paid to guaranteeing the adequate number of security staff at stadiums and to using the latest technologies for identifying arms and explosives to prevent possible terror attacks. Effective measures were also adopted for improving the quality of fire alarm systems because many constructions at stadiums are made of wood.

Analyzing the responses of the project team to the other risks, it is possible to note that marketing risks for the 2014 Six Nations Championship project were minimal. The project team used the successful risk mitigation strategy to prevent possible risks while developing active advertising and promotion campaigns with the help of the media in all countries-participants of the tournament. The main focus was made on the BBC in England, S4C in Wales, and RTE in Ireland (RBS 6 nations 2014). The work with potential sponsors was organised by the RBS 6 Nations Committee representatives. These risks had a low probability, but a high economic impact on organizers. The approach to managing the environmental risks was also effective because the project team chose to improve the safety measures and the quality of stadium constructions without roofs. No risky situations were reported during the period of 1 February 2014 – 15 March 2014; therefore, it is possible to state that risk management performed by the project team was successful, and the risk management approaches addressed the identified risks.

The Level of the Project’s Success with the Focus on the Project Management Planning Theory

The riskiest projects are complex sport large-scale events because the planning of these events requires much attention to a variety of tasks and goals to be accomplished. The problem is in the fact that the majority of risks cannot be identified at the initial stages of the project development if an event is rather complex (Giezen 2012, p. 782; Han & Ma 2011, p. 1196). From this point, according to the project management theory, planning “establishes scope, resources, and dependencies between activities and risk, thereby allowing the project team to be much more aware of uncertainties and therefore more ready to control or adapt to them” (University of Liverpool 2014, p. 1). These points need to be taken into account while analyzing the success of the 2014 Six Nations Championship as a large-scale public project.

It is possible to state that the 2014 Six Nations Championship was a successfully completed project that was characterized by high-quality planning and management. The reason is that the widely broadcasted sport event was not associated with any non-sport related challenges, and there identified risks were effectively predicted with the help of the used risk management strategies (RBS 6 nations 2014). Following the principles of the project management planning theory, it is possible to note that the guarantee of the project’s success was the planning efforts of the project team (IRFU 2008, p. 2). The annual character of the sports event allowed the proper analysis of the previous weaknesses in the tournament’s organization, and the planning of the 2014 Six Nations Championship was improved in order to address the larger number of possible risks and to meet more stakeholders’ needs (RBS 6 nations 2014). Therefore, the project team working at the Six Nations Championship in 2014 did not need to test the previously used approaches to the competition organisation and construction at stadiums.

The project team started by setting the mission and goals while referring to the previously used annual goals. The second step was the distribution of roles and responsibilities among the project team members. Internal and external factors were identified as potential risks and threats (Han & Ma 2011, p. 1196). The next step was the development of the schedule for activities, including construction, the work with sponsors, promotion, and the development of the risk management plan (Ferdinand & Kitchin 2012, p. 22; University of Liverpool 2014, p. 3).

The project was developed according to the schedule, and much attention was paid to implementation strategies and the customer test. The time was saved for testing the integration of new technologies (Leopkey & Parent 2009, p. 189; RBS 6 nations 2014). Furthermore, the project goals were effectively completed. The tournament attracted 1,038,744 persons, the management of matches at different stadiums was of the high quality, the management of spectators’ needs was according to the set safety and security standards, and the potential risks were successfully prevented (RBS 6 nations 2014). As a result, it is possible to state that the whole project was a success due to the fact it was based on the principles of the project management and planning theory.

The appropriate planning activities allowed focusing on the required number of human and material resources; on the improvement of construction sub-projects related to concrete stadiums in Cardiff, Dublin, and Edinburgh (without focusing on the stadiums in Italy and France); and on the effective work with stakeholders (University of Liverpool 2014, p. 3). From this point, the application of the project management planning resources for the development of the 2014 Six Nations Championship was important in order to guarantee effective scheduling and cooperation with stakeholders.


The project completed by the group of organisers working for the European rugby union became a significant sport event in 2014. The success of the 2014 Six Nations Championship as a project significantly depended on effective planning. Furthermore, the project team members selected the most effective risk management strategies in order to mitigate or address possible threats.

Reference List

Ferdinand, N & Kitchin, P 2012, Events management: an international approach, SAGE, New York.

Giezen, M 2012. ‘Keeping it simple? A case study into the advantages and disadvantages of reducing complexity in mega project planning’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 30, no. 7, pp.781-790.

Han, C & Ma, Y 2011, ‘Design and development of large-scale sport events information system – based on project management’, Advanced Materials Research, vol. 220, no. 12, pp. 1195–1200.

Hanstad, D 2012, ‘Risk management in major sporting events: a participating national olympic team’s perspective’, Event Management, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 189-201.

IRFU 2008, Event management handbook. Web.

Leopkey, B & Parent, M 2009, ‘Risk management issues in large-scale sporting events: a stakeholder perspective’, European Sport Management Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 187–208.

Meredith, J & Mantel, S 2012, Project management: a managerial approach, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken.

RBS 6 nations 2014. Web.

Six Nations Championship Guide 2014. Web.

University of Liverpool 2014, KMGT 681: Planning in an uncertain environment, University of Liverpool Press, Liverpool.

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